What do regenerative agriculture and farming do?
Generally speaking, regenerative agriculture is a system built upon various farming principles and practices that prioritize soil health, biodiversity and creating carbon reservoirs whilst following a holistic agroecosystem approach. Its holistic nature also shows in considering industry-related issues like working conditions and pursuing an overall mission to resolve current and future crises, whether it is health, food or climate. What might look or sound normal to us, in fact is not: for example, monocultures, one single crop extending to acres of land beyond the visible, present a substantial problem resulting in soil exploitation and a higher risk of soil erosion. Working against this, regenerative farms refrain from using pesticides, artificial fertilizers or deep tilling. Instead, they plant a biodiverse row of crops that profit from each other’s specific characteristics, e.g. nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes. Transferred to the context of animal farming, regenerative grazing constitutes the equivalent practice. This involves rotating the cattle around the land, so it grazes evenly and prevents overgrazing and potential desertification. What is more, it leads to an increase in soil carbon deposits, water retention and biodiversity.
Still being characterized as a progressive and advanced way of farming, it is actually more of a traditional, indigenous type of agriculture. Its ‘going back to the roots’ approach is now re-interpreted as responding to consequences of heavy industrialization and mass production. Due to a wide range of farming practices, it is likely that no regenerative farm will look like the other.